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Do IT certifications pay off?

Because we help hundreds of IT professionals find jobs each week, we’re sitting on a lot of proprietary salary data. We used our data to answer an age-old question: How much will a certification increase your pay?

By comparing salaries for related jobs that require certifications with those that don’t, we came up with directional data that can help you decide whether getting certified is worth the investment.

On average, we found a certification can add about $14,000, or 15 percent, to your salary. Many factors, such as your position, location and industry, affect the salary results, and there’s no guarantee you’ll receive a raise immediately after getting certified. While an employer may reward you, the real value is being able to pursue higher-level jobs.

See which certifications pay the most, how much they cost and if you meet the prerequisites.

The best IT certifications

Cloud

Certification

Potential Salary Increase

Difference

Exam Cost

Prerequisites

AWS - CSA

$16,409

12%

$150

1 year AWS experience

CompTIA Cloud+

$12,261

18%

$294

none

CompTIA Cloud Essentials

$10,564

15%

$115

none

CCSK

$18,878

15%

$345

none

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

$16,351

17%

$330

MCSA

Find out more about cloud certifications.

Computer Networking

Certification

Potential Salary Increase

Difference

Exam Cost

Prerequisites

MCSA - Windows Server 2012

$1,364

2%

$495

none

LPIC 1

$7,969

11%

$376

none

LPIC 2

insufficient data

N/A

$376

LPIC 1

RHCSA

$13,604

11%

$400

none

CCIE

$24,486

31%

$1,750

none

CCNP

$17,039

21%

$600

CCNA or CCIE

Find out more about networking certifications.

Data

Certification

Potential Salary Increase

Difference

Exam Cost

Prerequisites

MTA

$4,437

9%

$127

none

MongoDB Certified DBA

$13,618

14%

$150

none

Oracle Business Intelligence

$18,500

20%

$245

none

Find out more about data certifications.

Information Security

Certification

Potential Salary Increase

Difference

Exam Cost

Prerequisites

GSEC

$5,367

5%

$1,699

none

CEH

$18,821

20%

$950

2 years experience or training

CISSP

$16,608

18%

$599

4 years experience

CompTIA Security+

$4,689

6%

$320

none

CSSLP

$22,802

23%

$549

4 years experience

CISM

$27,500

28%

$760

5 years experience

Find out more about information security certifications.

IT Management

Certification

Potential Salary Increase

Difference

Exam Cost

Prerequisites

Six Sigma Green Belt

$14,076

13%

$295

none

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

$17,350

17%

$395

none

ITIL Foundation

$13,000

12%

$250

none

ITIL Expert

$30,517

28%

varies

ITIL Foundation and MALC

CompTIA A+

$7,493

17%

$194

none

ScrumMaster, CSM

$13,500

12%

varies

none (must take course)

PMP

$13,282

12%

$555

education and training

CAPM

$2,450

2%

$300

experience or education

Find out more about IT management certifications.

Programming

Certification

Potential Salary Increase

Difference

Exam Cost

Prerequisites

MongoDB Certified Developer

$15,500

16%

$150

none

MCSD

$2,955

3%

$165

MCSA

CCA Spark and Hadoop Developer

$8,253

8%

$295

none

CLA

$8,310

10%

$295

none

CPP

$14,495

16%

$295

CLA and CPA

Find out more about programming certifications.

Interested in pursuing an IT certification? We’d love to help. TEKsystems consultants have access to over 5,000 free training classes, including many certification-track courses.